November 25, 2009

Butter as Food

Lelio Botteri and Mario Fiandino at Golosario

Often, we think of butter as part of a pantry, to be used for cooking but not really standing on its own as a food. Living in Italy and France, I have had artisan butters which deserve such respect.I was recently asked to participate in a butter "tasting panel" by the Fattoria Fiandino in Cuneo.
I received three "unmarked" butters to try. Made from "rested" cream- panne riposate.

It was really difficult to taste the differences between the three- the butters were unsalted and had had a fabulous mouth feel when they melted in your mouth.

They did not taste like butter, but more like a thick cream. You could taste delicate flavors in the butter, like almonds and hazelnuts. I immediately wanted to use them in the kitchen as the star of recipes.

Some simple ideas when you have artisan butter:

Classics like Chicken breasts in butter and sage

In Italy, especially Tuscany which is a olive oil based cuisine, the use of butter is for special occasions. An after school treat is a slice of bread with butter and sugar.

Rome, where butter is used more, one of my favorite pasta dishes is Cacio and Burro, cheese and butter. When so few ingredients are used, quality is so important.
The hot pasta is topped with butter and stirred until the butter melts and topped with freshly grated pecorino cheese and freshly ground pepper, ( I used smoked paprika on mine for a hot twist.)

One of my favorite appetizers at wine bars is a tiny sandwich on a rich brioche roll, with a slice of butter and a marinated anchovy, at home a large slice of Tuscan country-style unsalted bread with a generous portion of butter- topped with my own marinated anchovies is heaven.

The first sweet I made was a northern recipe for Sbriciolona, a cornmeal and almond, crumbly shortbread.

Another dessert which I love to make when I have great butter is Salami Dolce- a chocolate roll, that when sliced looks like salami, kids adore it, both young and old!

When using artisan butter I don't melt it but whip it at room temp and add to the recipe. Letting it sit in the fridge instead of freezing it makes the dessert almost like a ganache. Try it!

The Fattoria, makes cheeses in the old style, using a natural rennet from a wild cardoon instead of animal rennet and beer! WOW- I admire artisans so much with their passion and creativity-

Mille Grazie Ragazzi!

Their products will soon be available in America too- here is their blog in English.

Fattoria Fiandino


  1. A butter tasting?? How lucky are you!

    That's how my daughter LOVES her pasta - even if I spend 2 days cooking down tomatoes for Italian gravy, she prefers a pat of butter, hot pasta, fresh parmesan cheese, cracked pepper and sprinkled with sea salt - sometimes simple is best!

  2. Butter is great! Your photos look delicious and color me envious for your travels!